College : : Story
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bloomington Regional preview

Kendall Rogers        


Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Indiana Big Ten 43-14 Automatic 2009
2. Austin Peay State Ohio Valley 45-13 Automatic 2012
3. Florida Southeastern 29-28 At-large 2012
4. Valparaiso Horizon 31-26 Automatic 2012
1. Indiana
  2. Austin Peay   

3. Florida

4. Valparaiso
Purdue put the Big Ten on the map last season with an impressive campaign. Now, it's Indiana's turn to carry the torch into the postseason. The Hoosiers put together an impressive regular season campaign and pack one of the nation's most potent offensive lineups, entering the weekend with a .305 batting average. Dustin DeMuth lead the offense with a .399 batting average, 19 doubles, five homers and 38 RBIs, while catcher Kyle Schwarber is a big-time bat in the middle of the lineup. Schwarber is hitting .374 with 10 doubles, 16 homers and 46 RBIs. Also keep an eye on Scott Donley, who's hitting .352 with four homers and 52 RBIs, while Michael Basil and Sam Travis each have a tendency to get big hits. Both are hitting .308, with Travis packing more of a powerful punch with eight homers and 48 RBIs. On the mound, sophomore right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers is red-hot with a 1.93 ERA in 88 2/3 innings of work, while Joey DeNato (2.52, 85 2/3) and Kyle Hart (3.01, 83 2/3) both are quality arms to watch. Bullpen-wise, Scott Effross and Ryan Halstead have established themselves as two of the nation's better relievers. Effross has a good arm and has made 25 appearances with a 2.13 ERA in 55 innings, while Halstead has made 23 appearances and has a 2.27 ERA and 10 saves in 35 2/3 innings of work. The big key for Indiana this weekend is getting good starts. This team can hit with the best of them, turning much of the attention to the pitching staff.
Austin Peay State
Austin Peay is one of the hottest teams in the postseason entering this weekend, riding a 15-game winning streak. It also received a boost last weekend when talented starting pitcher Lee Ridenhour finally returned from an injury. Ridenhour tossed 2 1/3 scoreless frames last weekend and for the season has a 2.22 ERA in 77 innings of work. From a pitching standpoint, also keep an eye on fellow starting pitchers Zach Hall and Casey Delgado. Neither have overly impressive numbers, but are more than serviceable with Delgado tallying 100 strikeouts so far this spring, and Hall having a 4.68 ERA in 82 2/3 innings of work. APSU has a strong bullpen with Tyler Rogers and Kacy Kemmer leading the way. Rogers has an astonishing 21 saves this season with a 1.83 ERA in 44 1/3 innings of work, while Kemmer has appeared in 32 games and has a 2.81 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. From an offensive standpoint, the Governors will enter the postseason with one of the nation's better offensive attacks, hitting .315 as a team. Craig Massoni, Cody Hudson, Jordan Hankins and Reed Harper form quite the quartet. Massoni leads the team with a .388 average, 16 homers and 68 RBIs, Hudson's hitting .365 with three homers and 38 RBIs, Hankins, a preseason All-American type of guy, is hitting .351 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs, and Harper is hitting .345 with six homers and 55 RBIs. APSU isn't your typical mid-major postseason team -- this team is very experienced in these situations.
Now that the Gators are in the NCAA Field of 64, perhaps it's time for some of the pressure to be relieved, and for this young team to finally play to their potential. The Gators have had a rather see-saw type of season, but that was to be expected with a hefty group of young players. Should the Gators escape the Bloomington Regional, their pitching staff will be a big reason why. UF has plenty of talented arms to work with this weekend. Right-handed ace pitcher Jonathon Crawford will be a high draft pick and has a low-90s fastball to go with a nice slider. He has a 4.03 ERA in 80 1/3 innings, along with 64 strikeouts and 33 walks. Meanwhile, Johnny Magliozzi (2.49, 61 1/3), Bobby Poyner (3.41, 37), Danny Young (4.28, 40 IP) and Eric Hanhold (5.88, 33 2/3) are all potential starting pitchers. Bullpen-wise, keep an eye on Ryan Harris and Daniel Gibson. Harris has a big-time arm with an upper-90s fastball. He also has appeared in 35 games with a 2.75 ERA in 55 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Gibson, a talented left-handed arm, has appeared in 30 games with a 4.26 ERA in 38 innings. Offensively, the Gators have the ability to be very solid, and to be pretty average. Richie Martin is an electric young player who's hitting .304 with 18 RBIs, while Harrison Bader is hitting .304 with a home run and 22 RBIs. Vickash Ramjit and Taylor Gushue are two guys I'd watch this weekend. Neither have an overly impressive batting average, but have power potential.
Valparaiso is a true case of saving the best for last. Valpo entered the season expected to do some special things. But after an up and down regular season, the Crusaders put together quite an impressive run in the conference tournament. Valpo has a solid pitching staff entering the weekend with an excellent reliever to watch in Karch Kowalczyk. Kowalczyk has appeared in 22 games and has an 0.36 ERA and 12 saves in 25 innings of work. Meanwhile, keep an eye on starting pitching Cole Webb, who has made 14 starts and has a 3.59 ERA in 90 1/3 innings. He has struck out 54 and walked 25, while teams are hitting him at a .285 clip. Offensively, the Crusaders certainly aren't going to blow you away with a .277 team batting average, but keep an eye on leading hitters Tanner Vavra and Chris Manning. Vavra is hitting .333 with 17 RBIs and Manning is hitting .320 with three homers and 32 RBIs. Valparaiso is experienced in this setting, making last year's Gary Regional, so keep an eye on them for an upset.
I've been very impressed with the job Indiana has done this season, and it'll be interesting to see if the Hoosiers can continue their impressive ways this weekend. Indiana has plenty of quality arms, but what's most likable about this team is the offensive lineup is just relentless. With that said, there's some pressure on Indiana this weekend to have success after Purdue squandered the Gary Regional last season. Austin Peay has a solid offensive lineup, but if there's a true threat to Indiana, it's probably Florida based on sheer potential. The Gators certainly have the talent to give IU a run for its money, but it's tough to pick them because of their inconsistent nature. Overall, this is a favorable field for the Hoosiers and should lead to a trip to an NCAA Super Regional. However, I'd keep a close eye on Florida.


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